A Gift of a Blade
As a gift to my wife, I consigned a custom knife to be made for her. I suppose most people feed-the-love-story with purchases of flowers, jewelry, perfumes, and similar items. However, I couldn’t help but find this type of artistry fascinating and extremely unique. The wife has always had an appreciation for knives and has mentioned her interest with a few custom knives she had seen previously. This got me to thinking about the custom knife making culture and what a nice gift a handmade blade might make.
I searched on the Internet and inquired for several days reviewing custom knife makers. I thought it would be nice if she could carry something on her belt and could be used for our outdoor trips. It would need to be lighter, smaller, and more elegant than the traditional 10-12” survival/hunting knife. She’s just a little thing and an enormous weighty blade wouldn’t seem fitting. I was also looking for something a bit more unusual than the standard polished steel blades.
My search took me to J.W. Stekervetz at JWS Blades (jwsblades.com) from the Lititz, PA area. J.W. is a classic American blacksmith who uses an anvil, hammer, and a forge to create his masterpieces. You can also see him at both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Renaissance Faires. He has a unique style and process for creating his art and art was exactly what I was searching for as a gift.
We exchanged emails and phone calls as he listened to my request. He offered ideas and detailed what he was going to do, providing opportunity for feedback and suggestions of my own (I didn’t have many). In no time at all he was off and running providing daily updates on his progress along with photographs. For me the progress of its creation was as fascinating as the knife itself. J.W.’s pleasant demeanor and devotion to his art made the entire process an adventure.
The end result was remarkable, a blade made of 1084 high carbon core, 15n20, nickel, and brass with a Cocobolo handle.
The fascinating story evolves on the following pages. Continue on for the photos and commentary I received as J.W. worked his craft and I watched my gift come to life.